|“||Think on your sins.||„|
|~ Silva's message to M.|
|“||Hello, James. Welcome. Do you like the island? My grandmother had an island. Nothing to boast of. You could walk around it in an hour. But still, it was, it was a paradise for us. One summer, we went for a visit and discovered the place had been infested with rats! They'd come on a fishing boat and gorged themselves on coconut. So how do you get rats off an island? Hmm? My grandmother showed me. We buried an oil drum and hinged the lid, then wired coconut to the lid as bait. And the rats would come for the coconut and... they would fall into the drum. And after a month, you have trapped all the rats. But what do you do then? Throw the drum into the ocean? Burn it? No. You just leave it. And they begin to get hungry. And one by one... they start eating each other until there are only two left. The two survivors. And then what? Do you kill them? No. You take them and release them into the trees. But now they don't eat coconut anymore. Now they only eat rat. You have changed their nature. The two survivors, this is what she made us.||„|
|~ Silva's "Last Two Rats" monologue|
He is a powerful cyber-terrorist who was once an MI6 agent but was betrayed by M when she turned him over to the Chinese government in 1997 during a mission in Hong Kong. Fifteen years later, he commits a series of terrorist attacks as part of a larger plan to publicly discredit and kill her.
He was portrayed by Javier Bardem, who also played Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men, Felix Marti in The Gunman, Felix Reyes Torrena in Collateral, Captain Armando Salazar in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Him in mother!.
Tiago Rodriguez was once an agent of MI6, working under M when she was the head of Station H in Hong Kong, specializing in cyberterrorism. During his first meeting with Bond, he recounts a story from his childhood: his grandmother owned a small island, which he and his family would visit every summer. During one such visit, they discovered that the island had become infested with rats that fed off the coconuts that grew there. To deal with them, his grandmother captured them all in an oil drum, which was then sealed to prevent them from escaping. When they reopened the drum time some time later, they discovered that the rats had resorted to cannibalism in order to survive, until only two remained; instead of exterminating them, his grandmother released the surviving two rats, only now they would no longer eat coconut and would only eat rat. Rodriguez uses this story as a metaphor describing what M turned himself and Bond into.
In the time leading up to the Handover, Rodriguez began acting beyond his professional duties as an agent, hacking into Chinese Intelligence without authorization. With the Chinese on to him, M turned him over to them in exchange for six other previously captured agents and a peaceful transfer of sovereignty. For the next five months, Rodriguez was brutally tortured "in a room with no air", but he refused to divulge any state secrets. Upon learning it was M who gave him up, he tried to commit suicide by biting into a cyanide capsule. Rather than kill him, the cyanide left him disfigured, with a collapsed left cheek and rotting teeth (he would later disguise his disfigurement with a dental prosthetic). Rodriguez blamed M for his misfortune and swore revenge.
Silva has Patrice steal a flash drive the names and locations of several undercover NATO agents and publish this information on the Internet, resulting in the deaths of several of these agents when the terrorist groups they are planted in learn their identities. He then sends M a taunting message before destroying MI6 headquarters at Vauxhall Cross, killing dozens of agents. M orders Bond to find the person responsible, sending him to Shanghai. After killing Patrice, Bond meets with Severine, who agrees to take him to her boss.
Upon travelling to Silva's island (thanks to the Boat Captain), Bond is captured and meets with Silva himself. Silva at first tries to intimidate Bond by making quasi-sexual advances toward him. When that doesn't work, Silva appeals to Bond's resentment of M, who left him for dead during an earlier mission, and offers to bring him into the cyber-terrorism operation. Bond refuses, however, so Silva leads him outside and challenges him to a game of William Tell, using Severine as the target. Bond deliberately misses, after which Silva shoots Severine square in the face, killing her. Using the distress beacon given to him by Q, Bond is able to call for reinforcements and have Silva captured.
However, it turns out that Silva had planned to be captured in order to get to M, and then escapes when a virus from his laptop infects MI6's system as Q attempts to decrypt it. The virus opens all electronically locked doors in the base, including the door to Silva's cell. Escaping into the London Underground, he disguises himself as a police officer as Bond pursues him. Silva attempts to kill Bond by sending a subway train off its tracks onto him, but Bond survives and continues pursuing him.
Meeting up with more of his men, who are also disguised as policemen, Silva travels to M's public enquiry, where he intends to publicly execute her. Bursting into the courtroom, Silva and his men manage to kill the surrounding policemen and M's bodyguards, but before he can kill her, Gareth Mallory pushes her out of the way and take a bullet in the shoulder. At the moment, Bond appears, and he, Eve Moneypenny and Mallory provide cover fire and kill Silva's men. Bond then shoots two nearby fire extinguishers, creating a smokescreen that allows him and his allies to escort M to safety.
Tired of Silva being one step ahead of them, Bond devises a plan to lead him into a trap. He has Q set up an electronic trail for Silva to follow, while he drives M to his ancestral home in Scotland, the eponymous Skyfall Lodge. After meeting the estate's gamekeeper, Kincaide, the trio prepare for Silva's inevitable attack by setting up various boobytraps around the house. Sure enough, Silva and his men descend upon Skyfall and open fire; M is mortally wounded by a stray shot during the first wave. Silva himself soon arrives with the second wave in a helicopter gunship, laying waste to the lodge before Bond destroys it in a gigantic explosion. He follows M and Kincaide into the estate's chapel, where he notices M's wounds. He places a gun into M's hand, presses it towards his temple, presses her head against his and begs her to pull the trigger and kill them both. At that moment, however, Bond comes up from behind Silva and throws a knife into his back, killing him. M dies moments later.
In Spectre, it is revealed that Silva, along with Le Chiffre and Dominic Greene, were affiliated with the crime syndicate SPECTRE led by Ernst Stavro Blofeld. It also turns out that Silva was being used as a pawn alongside Le Chiffre and Greene by Blofeld to further his vendetta against Bond.
Despite his chaotic methods, Silva maintains an air of calm and often handles things with ease - even after Bond killed his men, and being held at gunpoint by the latter, Silva remained completely reserved and even managed to mock him. He was charismatic and very strategic, thinking out all of his plans in full detail and trying not to leave anything to chance, or else was very good at improvising. Silva was also brilliant, able not only to outsmart M but Q and Bond as well, even going so far to use them as part of his plan. Even M, who has always been critical of Bond, described Silva as 'a brilliant agent'. He was also sexually ambiguous; he had a female lover and also made strong overtures toward Bond, though what precisely he meant by it and whether he is actually gay or bisexual is left open to interpretation.
Though Silva maintained an intensely strong hatred towards M, he is also conflicted about her. He was convinced that he had survived to "look into [her] eyes one last time". During their confrontation in the MI6 cell room where he is held after his initial capture, he grew increasingly more agitated and deranged as she refused to show any remorse or regret for her actions, especially when she refuses to use his real name. When he first encounters Bond, he blames M personally for compelling him towards a path that could easily kill him, quite ignoring his own willingness to do so. He calls her "Mommy" or "Mother" multiple times, and he ultimately cannot bring himself to personally kill her - to the point when he has her at the point of a gun, and can't bring himself to pull the trigger. He does have a sarcastic wit, shown constantly against James Bond during their battle of wits, even using Bond's own words against him.
It has been theorized that Silva had a borderline personality disorder, which is characterized by an intense fear of abandonment, emotional extremes, and an unstable sense of identity. He does show sociopathic behaviour, including a laid-back reaction to dangerous or sadistic situations, a lack of compassion towards even his allies, and above all, he was particularly sadistic towards M - before exploding MI6 he sent a computerized message mocking her, and later taunted her with unleashing names of NATO agents on YouTube to intensify the fact that she had failed.
Raoul Silva is a young, tall and a bit muscular man with long blonde hair and blue eyes; both are probably not natural. He wears a prosthetic upper jaw to conceal the damage done by the failed cyanide capsule; without it, his left cheek collapses, causing his lower eyelid to droop as well, and he is left with only a few stubs of teeth which are grey with decay (see below).
In his first appearance, he wears a cream jacket, a Prada tile print dress shirt, brown waistcoat and trousers, and brown shoes. After escaping his cell at MI6, he disguises himself as a Metropolitan police officer. In the final showdown at Skyfall, he wears all black: turtleneck, trenchcoat, trousers, and combat boots. His weapons of choice include explosives, a Glock 13, a Steyr M9-A1 (during the Skyfall assault), a helicopter gunship, a subway train, and antique flintlock duelling pistols (used to kill his lover Sévérine in a "William Tell" game he forces Bond to participate in).
|“||What is this if not betrayal? She's sending you off to me knowing you are not ready, knowing you will likely die. Mommy was very bad!||„|
|~ Silva talking to Bond about M.|
|“||If you wanted, you can pick your own secret missions as I do. Name it. Name it! Destabilize a multinational by manipulating stocks. Easy. Interrupt transmissions from a spy satellite over Kabul. Done! Hmm. Rig an election in Uganda. All to the highest bidder. (Bond: Or a gas explosion in London?) Just point-and-click.||„|
|~ Silva explaining his list of cyberterrorist deeds to Bond.|
|“||Do you know what it does to you? Hydrogen cyanide? Look upon your work... Mother.||„|
|~ Silva to M as he reveals his disfigurement.|
Upon the film's release, Javier Bardem received widespread acclaim from film critics, who called his Silva "a classic, menacing and cool Bond villain".
- The filmmakers of Skyfall stated they based the character in part on Heath Ledger's interpretation of The Joker in The Dark Knight; both characters are disfigured, both have bleached hair and a penchant for theatrical violence, and both are obsessed with battling a character they view as an archenemy.
- Silva is similar to several other Bond villains:
- Alec Trevelyan from 1995's Goldeneye. Both are ex-MI6 agents and had close personal relationships with one of their co-workers (Bond for Trevelyan/M for Silva). Because of this, both are seen as "Anti-Bonds". Both seek revenge for MI6 betraying them (MI6 handing the Trevelyans and the Lienz Cossacks back to the Russians/MI6 for trading Silva over to the Chinese in order to free six captive agents). After leaving MI6 both start their own criminal operations, and major components of their plans involve computer hacking. Both have scarred faces (Part of Trevelyan's face being burned by the explosion in a Soviet chemical plant/Massive burning damage was done to Silva's face during a failed attempt at using a suicide cyanide pill that forces him to wear a brace in his mouth).
- Francisco Scaramanga from 1974's The Man With the Golden Gun. Both are of Hispanic heritage, and are presented as being Bond's equal. Both feel they share a certain special connection with Bond. Both also have island lairs near China, and have a woman in their service (Andrea Anders/Sévérine) who is fearful of them and come to have hopes that Bond can kill their employers only to have Scaramanga and Silva eventually shoot and kill them personally.
- Elektra King from 1999's The World Is Not Enough. Both are motivated by a grudge against M, who had chosen to sacrifice them for the "greater good". Both Elektra and Silva remotely set off explosions in the Vauxhall Building, the official headquarters of MI6. Elektra is particularly resentful of her father, who had consulted with M when Elektra had been kidnapped years before (M advised her father not to pay the ransom asked for, as it would be "negotiating with terrorists"). Silva sees M as a mother figure.
- Silva's appearance may have been based on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
- The whiskey Silva pours out for Bond is a 50-year-old Macallen, a reference to the fact that Skyfall was released on the 50th anniversary of the first Bond film, Dr. No.
- Despite being the main antagonist, Silva doesn't appear onscreen until halfway through the movie.
- Silva's island was based on the real-life Japanese island of Hashima; Silva faked a leak at the island's chemical plant to cause the inhabitants to abandon it, based on the real chemical leak that caused the evacuation of the real island.
- The fallen statue on Silva's island is a reference to Percy Bysshe Shelley's sonnet "Ozymandius", which is about time defeating a once-mighty empire. The poem M quotes from at her hearing right before Silva storms in is Alfred Lord Tennyson's "Ulysses", which is about tenacity and striving forward even in the face of such decline.
- Originally, the German actor Michael Pink was supposed to play the role until Bardem replaced him. Still Pink is seen as a henchman in the battle scene at the end.
- Silva is the first Bond villain to not have an operations base destroyed.
- Daniel Craig bonded with Javier Bardem on the set over their shared love of rugby. In his youth, Craig played for Hoylake Rugby Football Club in Wirral, Merseyside. Bardem played for Club de Rugby Liceo Francés in Madrid, and even made the Spanish national team at underage level.
- His YouTube name "Vials" is an anagram of his new surname "Silva."
- Silva is ironically the first Bond villain to actually succeed in his goals, namely humiliating MI6 and killing M as revenge for abandoning him (although the latter is a posthumous victory as Bond kills him before M succumbs to her injuries).
- His first name, Raoul, is never mentioned in the film, with characters referring him to and the credits listing him as "Silva".